Those who are visiting Tokyo this fall or live in the area may be interested in an exciting opportunity to enjoy traditional Japanese culture thanks to a new project geared towards international visitors. Called Tokyo Art & Live City, this project organized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Japan Arts Council, is presenting a series of film screenings featuring historical drama, kabuki and noh.

The first of three offerings this fall is the exciting samurai film "Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko" (The Bored Hatamoto) and an accompanying exhibition held at two nearby galleries in the Ginza neighborhood where you can appreciate gorgeous kimono costumes worn by the lead actor Utaemon Ichikawa.

Regarded as a masterpiece of Showa era samurai drama, Toei's "Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko" was produced in 1958 in commemoration of the 300th movie starring Utaemon Ichikawa, and features an all-star cast of famous movie stars. For this screening, a multilingual subtitling system is used so that English and Chinese-speakers can also appreciate the film. Multilingual support also continues at the costume exhibition held at Galerie Nichido and Ginza Yanagi Gallery, where you'll see a selection of the splendidly designed kimonos worn by Utaemon Ichikawa in the film, which were recently discovered in pristine condition at Toei Studios' Uzumasa Studio in Kyoto, as well as posters, and a selection from the galleries' paintings which match the theme. In addition, on October 6th, there will be a special live performance by croquis artist Minoru Hirota.

Screening of Samurai Film "Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko"

  • Film Title: 「旗本退屈男」| "Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko"
  • Theater: Marunouchi TOEI 2
  • Remaining Dates: October 5th to 8th , 10:00 am - 12:00 pm (Open 9:45 am)
  • Admission: 1,000 JPY
  • Multilingual support: Evixar multilingual subtitle system: English / Chinese
  • Address: 3-2-17 Ginza Chuo Ward, Tokyo
  • Access: 4 minutes to JR Yurakucho Sta., 1 min. from Tokyo Metro Ginza Sta.
  • Purchasing: At box office and other locations (see website for details)

The historic Marunouchi TOEI cinema where the film is being screened is in the heart of the lively Ginza neighborhood. Although Ginza is famous as a luxury shopping district, it also a thriving cultural center for film, theater and art.

When you arrive, proceed downstairs to access Marunouchi TOEI 2.

Photo by © grape Japan

Posters of "Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko" will greet you.

Photo by © grape Japan

The spacious theater where the film is being screened.

Photo by © grape Japan

Upon request, you will be given an Evixar multilingual subtitle system in a plastic case with a lanyard for easy access. The innovative and easy-to-use system uses a microphone to actually listen to the film as it progresses and match the subtitles with the actors' lines.

Here we are waiting for the film to begin. During the film, the subtitles appeared seamlessly and the quality of the translation was truly excellent!

Photo by © grape Japan

About the film

The protagonist Saotome Mondonosuke, played by the inimitable Utaemon Ichikawa, is a hatamoto 旗本, a direct vassal of the Tokugawa shogunate in the Genroku Era (1688-1704). Although he was a high-ranking master swordsman, the peaceful era provides few opportunities for him to put his skills to use. As a result, he often complains about feeling bored, thus earning him the nickname of "the bored Hatamoto." A man of integrity, he is a friend to common folk and a formidable opponent to the corrupt who abuse their power. The crescent scar on his forehead serves as a license to go above the law in order to protect the shogunate. One of the best of 25 films in the "bored Hatamoto" series, this film has sword battles, ninjas, human drama and intrigue. It may be about a bored Hatamoto, but it's far from a boring film!

Director: Sadatsugu Matsuda | Starring: Utaemon Ichikawa, Chiezō Kataoka, Kinnosuke Nakamura, Ryūtarō Ōtomo, Hashizo Okawa, Chiyonosuke Azuma, Kōtarō Satomi, Kin'ya Kitaōji.

"Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko" Costume Exhibit

114 of the gorgeous kimonos worn by Utaemon Ichikawa in the popular movie series "Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko" were discovered earlier this year, stored at Toei Studios Kyoto in the city’s Uzumasa district (a must-visit destination, as we've reported before). Since the costumes for historical dramas are often reused in another movie after having been re-tailored, it is very rare to find them in their original condition. Made by Japanese painter Tadaoto Kainosho (1894-1978), who investigated the historical background of the film to create his designs, the kimonos are characterized by brilliant colors, and feature patterns such as Japanese iris, flying fish and even abstract designs.

The exhibition takes place at two Ginza galleries, the Galerie Nichido and the Ginza Yanagi Gallery, just minutes away from the theater. In addition to the kimonos, the two galleries are also displaying works from their regular collection which are thematically tied to the film.

The exhibition will be open from 10:00 to 19:00 on weekdays and 11:00 to 18:00 on Saturday and Sunday. The closing time will be 17:00 on the final day. (Galerie Nichido will be closed on October 6th). Admission is free.

Addresses for each gallery are listed below

Galerie Nichido

With its impressive entrance, the Galerie Nichido is hard to miss:

Photo by © grape Japan

Some of the gorgeous kimono costumes on display:

Photo by © grape Japan

Photo by © grape Japan

Posters from the "Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko" series (and related photos). The one on the left is of 謎の珊瑚屋敷 Nazo no Sango Yashiki ("The Mystery of the Coral Mansion")

Photo by © grape Japan

Photos of the Toei Kaikan theater when it opened in 1960 and a aerial view of the building in 1962.

Photo by © grape Japan

The multilingual support uses QR codes printed throughout the gallery, which you scan with your own smartphone to display text in your choice of Japanese, English and Chinese.

Photo by © grape Japan

Galerie Nichido: 5-3-16 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo

Ginza Yanagi Gallery

Just two minutes away, the Ginza Yanagi Gallery on the 3rd floor of the Sukiya Building has addition kimonos on display:

Photo by © grape Japan

Photo by © grape Japan

You will also be able to see croquis art by Minoru Hirota:

Photo by © grape Japan

Special Event: Minoru Hirota live performance on Oct. 6 (Sun.) at 13:00, 14:00 and 15:00
The artist will create croquis based on a model wearing an accurate replica of one of the gorgeous kimonos featured in the film "Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko"

Ginza Yanagi Gallery: 3F Sukiya Bldg., 5-1-7 Ginza, Chuo Ward, Tokyo

For more information about the "Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko" film screening and kimono costume exhibition, as well as the other exciting offerings planned by Tokyo Art & Live City this fall, please visit their website here.

By - Ben K.

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